Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer told RingTV.com during an interview earlier this week that Floyd Mayweather Jr. was close to naming an opponent for his return to the ring on May 5 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas — that is, if a coveted mega-bucks bout with WBO Manny Pacquiao did not first come to fruition.
At the time, Schaefer listed as two of the top considerations No. 2-rated lightweight Robert Guerrero, a five-belt winner over the course of three divisions, and RING No. 2-ranked junior middleweight Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, the WBC’s beltholder.
Rival promoter Bob Arum, CEO at Top Rank Inc., who handles Pacquiao, has taken a stab at narrowing Mayweather’s choices even further.
Arum stated that he believed Mayweather will choose Guerrero as the man against whom to make a defense of his WBC welterweight belt. Arum’s assertion riled Schaefer, who has since said that Guerrero has been eliminated from the prospects.
“Obviously, Arum thought that it was going to be Guerrero against Mayweather,” said Schaefer. “But that’s not the case.”
As a counter, Schaefer has thrown his opinion toward guessing whom Pacquiao will choose, if not Mayweather.
Pacquiao is reportedly considering Juan Manuel Marquez, IBF/WBA junior welterweight titleholder Lamont Peterson, WBO junior welterweight titleholder Tim Bradley or WBA junior middleweight beltholder Miguel Cotto.
Arum already has indicated that he would match Cotto against WBC middleweight title holder Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., if Chavez gets beyond next month’s defense of his crown against Marco Antonio Rubio, and Cotto is not selected by Pacquiao.
“What Bob wants to do is have Pacquiao fight Timothy Bradley, and he wants Juan Manuel Marquez to fight Peterson, and he wants Cotto to fight Chavez Jr.,” said Schaefer. “But I really couldn’t care less what Top Rank is doing. I want to focus on our fights.”
After signing with Arum in September with the idea of someday facing Pacquiao, Bradley was immediately placed on the Pacquiao-Marquez III undercard in November, where he scored an eighth-round knockout of four-time titleholder and Cuban Olympic gold medalist Joel Casamayor.
Pacquiao earned a disputed majority decision over Marquez, against whom he had battled to a draw and a split-decision triumph in two prior meetings.
Schaefer thinks Pacquiao’s fighting Bradley next.
“That’s why he put Bradley on the Pacquiao card. It’s just that that’s what is going to happen, watch and see,” said Schaefer. “Let’s just say that I have my sources that he wants to have Pacquiao fight Bradley. I have my sources. End of story.”